Tag Archive | druid

the cultivation management and magical use of nwyfre

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a skilfully enchanted amethyst atop a mallee wand

not all druids identify as animists, but many are, whether they know it or not. the word comes from the latin word for a living being or spirit, mind or soul. animism considers the entire universe to be alive and conscious, from atoms forged in the blazing centres of stars through biological life-forms such as the plants and animals of our own planet to the great celestial organisms we see as the stars in the night sky.

many animists add that this all-pervading livingness makes itself intelligible to fey people through human-like plant and animal spirit people, fauns, fairies, elves, angels, benign devils and daemons, elementals, dryads, aerial weather spirits, gnomes, pixies and the myriad nature spirits of many other cultures, the local native cultures in particular, who can help us to attune ourselves to the wider contexts of the extended network they help us to weave.

science tells us that the material world is made of atoms, each one infinitely packed with structure and flow, like the organs of animals or the structures within a cell. they are all impressionable and responsive to stimuli, and capable of intricate proactive negotiation with their neighbour atoms in forming molecules or in their free states. there’s a constant exchange of information occurring across the interfaces between subatomic particles, between atoms, molecules, cells, plants and animals, and between the celestial bodies comprising the galaxies and other great beings of the cosmos. in effect there is a network of communication which incorporates the food web and the human communications networks.

what this means to a magician is that we are in continuum not just with those networks of the primitive contact telepathy of the social animals we still are, or the food-web and ecological systems; or the zodiac magic between us and the planets and stars; or the elemental forces of the material world all around us although all of those are vitally important; but also to the networks we as a species generate: the culture, the mass media and the world wide web.

the sum total of impressions held in each aeons-old atom of earth is like a causal ocean, a ‘ceridwen’s cauldron’, a rich brew of events and qualities, principles and dimensions, garnered from myriad ‘text-rich’ events and encounters in deep space and deep within the atmosphere, on their way to becoming part of the earth and during their evolution ever since. whatever is communicated across any of the interfaces forming this universal network is the result of much process, sorting of data, filtering, censoring, deleting, expending, filing away, etc, and the resultant emanation of meaning-replete patterns of flow and disturbance is nwyfre.

it is mindfully controlled by the negotiation among all its parts. it can be the mere nuance of an awareness glimmering instantaneously in the heart of an atom as it comes into being in a distant galaxy not yet born; or the sights and sounds of the whole of a hollywood movie; or the symphony of subtle, complex, deeply meaningful impressions we receive when communing in silent or chattery meditation with a tree or when reading a book.

if, as i’ve said, this nwyfre forms a vital, mindful fabric of constantly changing stimulus and response, cause and effect, stasis and flow, not unlike the turbulence and flow of human experience, surely by understanding it we can learn to read it, manage it skilfully and use it magically to optimise our own personal experience and to practice good magic worthy of the name of ‘druid’ in our troubled world.

just as our bodies are made of vast constellations of aeons old atoms, so our minds are constellations of knowledge, memory and thought, incorporating detailed impressions from a lifetime of experience, including all the films, books and music that enrich our lives, to say nothing of the people and animals and even plants that we include among our family and friends and wider social milieu.

any human being is a fountain of nwyfre. that’s why ritual touching is part of life – part of the subliminal knowledge we have of each other. a conscientious druid is able to harness and direct the nwyfre, extracting it selectively from consenting sources or learning to generate it and use it in accord with a finely focused magical intention. this is one of the many things a well-constructed magic circle facilitates, extending and fine-tuning the magician’s focus, power and influence in much the same way as an astronomer’s telescope extends and specialises the vision of the star-gazer, or as a detailed map assists a traveller.

with or without a circle, it’s fairly easy to learn to see a flow of nwyfre-rich energy using a wand or staff or a crystal with at least one good ‘shooting’ point, or just your fingers, at least to start with. you may just spontaneously happen to find yourself ‘energised’, exhilarated or vibrant with some exciting radiance from dancing or gardening or meeting with friends, or you may prepare yourself by casting a circle and doing a simple or elaborate light body ritual followed by three awens for attunement, or using chant, drumming or ritual dance.

when you feel radiant with power, hold your magical tool or your bare hands close to your solar plexus and breathe steadily, willing the nwyfre from your body to flow into the object and fill it.

you might chant something like ‘healing power in my hands (wand, crystal, etc), magic power in my fingers (etc), or just ‘magic fingers, healing hands’ or you might try a dramatic, commanding ‘healing

nwyfre flow!’ speaking words aloud or in our mind helps us be focused and articulate about our intentions, which helps the magic. this flow is easy to see, especially against a dark backdrop. it is similar to the energy that can be seen flowing between your fingertips if you hold them an inch or so apart and bring them slowly together. in a healthy, energised system this radiance appears sparkling clear.

you can easily train yourself to see the radiant electromagnetic field, which is a major ‘smart’ carrier of nwyfre, especially surrounding your fingertips. it is at its brightest and most active when you are in tip-top health, happy and confident and have optimised your relations with your social, natural and magical environment enough to have the good will of most of your neighbours, since like it or not we are all contributing to a collective mentality and nothing is more empowering than the common consent.

even a beginner can successfully charge magical items such as charms and amulets, or cast exquisite circles for seasonal rituals, fizzing with good, exciting, effective magic, using a wand, hands, symbolic items or crystals or whatever charged in this way. or it can be discharged beneficially into the life field of a sick friend or animal, plant, garden, city or town, or even the earth itself via whatever symbols you choose to attune for the purpose.

it is important to understand that the flow we see here is not ‘in’ everything, but is like a specific medium which carries nwyfre, and flows around the all material objects, even subatomic particles

and vast galaxies, like the interstitial fluids that carry the biochemically coded information around the body of an animal or plant. it’s real and dowsers can detect it, and it registers on scientifically designed sensors as real energy capable of having real physical effects.

there are good reasons to believe it is not inert – not much in nature is – but interacts with the information it carries in a way that you might call ‘smart’, trafficking intelligently organised nwyfre about from one part of the system to another, from the atmosphere to the birds, for example, and vice versa, keeping us all separate but engaged in a kind of eternal conversation, in the loop, so to speak, in accord with the wisdom of the higher collectivities, the spirits, devas and angels, for example, in negotiation with the inner potential mediated through our genes and our humanity. or from the tip of a well-crafted wand to a collection of symbolic items selected for inclusion in a druid’s egg.

the interstitial fluids of a human being convey chemical information, while the electromagnetic field is rich in what psychics call psychometric energy. it’s a confusing term, referring to the psychic impressions that certain gifted people can gain bringing past scenes to vivid consciousness upon holding an object such as a ring or watch that once belonged to someone else. the psychic might see and hear actual scenes from that person’s life, or from the past experience of the actual object held. so whether you are reading it or not, it is high resolution data which different beings can extract their own species specific experience from.

this is as true of objects as of people. so the nwyfre channelled by the ring in the psychometrist’s hand is the equivalent of a psychical experience or a dream or a vision in human awareness. of course it is possible to argue that the ring has no consciousness of the experience flowing through it when a human being wears it next to the skin, within his/her electromagnetic field, but how could anyone know? for all our pride in human science with its most advanced knowledge of the biochemistry of thought and emotion in human beings, the ‘seat’ of consciousness remains a beautiful, totally elusive mystery.

as so often the case in magic, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. anyone who takes a few simple steps in developing a working interface with a properly enchanted magical tool risking little or nothing in a few moments of suspended disbelief now and then will observe without doubt that the tool responds as a responsible being in its own right. wands communicate intelligently, crystals bond with you, druid’s eggs call you and feed from you and need you to incubate them, and stranger things happen as you go deeper in. it is therefore customary to address your tools with great respect and treat them as kindly and considerately as you would a room-mate or dancing partner.

allow, for example, that they have minds of their own. they are constantly streaming experience and communicating experience-rich energy to everything around them, just like everything else. experienced practitioners will agree that your magical life becomes deeper, richer, friendlier and more meaningful if you talk to your wands, show concern for their welfare and ask with pleases and thank yous, and give them treats: a song, a poem, incense, a ring.

everything contributes impressions to the nwyfre circulating and percolating through the material world. it’s like white noise, and like the colour white, can be made to show its inner spectra. theoretically it should be possible to do this in an infinite number of ways, but nature uses a restricted palette, leaving a major part of the artistry to us.

magic is a kind of metaphysical technology. it uses mind over matter to influence events using metaphysics, governing the flow of change, the shifts of emphasis, the management of morphic resonance etc., through symbols, ritual, metaphors, stories, myths, fantasy and folklore and the sentimental and practical poetic of everyday life.

almost all of this magic involves the management of nwyfre, so it is worth dedicating some time and energy to the study of it. a web search will show you how others are using the word, and how they make use of whatever they think it is. keep adding to and enriching your sense of what it is by trying to maintain an awareness of it in everyday encounters. meditation upon the word itself is sure to be rewarded by an enhanced sense of what it means.

advanced meditators should theoretically be able to penetrate to the collective sense of the word and thus intuit a deeper sense of its meaning, but most of us are not quite so advanced and besides, our cooperation in crafting new meanings for these old magical words is all part of the magic.

naturally the most important magical tool is yourself, and the nwyfre you carry and communicate will pervade your magic, so let it be healthy, vital and smart, and may its radiance be for the good of all beings.

building bridges: sharing of nwyfre

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never mind et intelligences – can trees communicate?

being a natural philosopher at heart i like to have a reasonable basis for my belief. as a druid in mixed society, when my beliefs are questioned i appreciate the credibility that goes with having a sound rationale. i try to ensure that a scientific description of the material world supports my belief in nwyfre as a flow of information-dense effects through the network of communication that interconnects all material beings. so i will begin with a glance into the magic of the rich and varied world that is within the range of our ordinary perception and proceed later to the so-called ‘invisible’ worlds that exist beyond that range.

if i stand near a tree, its radiance mingles with mine. they interact and both are changed, charged with the excitation of this new stimulus, which we communicate to everything around us. the same happens if a rock fetches up under a tree, or in my hand. as a human being i have special senses – of sight and sound, smell, taste and touch – which read the radiances of the material world, streaming data to my brain where i construct my perception of reality. this means i can create much more dynamic interfaces than i otherwise could, reading much more of the detail encrypted in just the light, for instance, simply by looking at things, stones, trees, yes, but also far-off mountains, the rising sun, the distant stars and galaxies, and indeed everything that radiates or reflects the colours of the spectrum of light. in dividing the light in this way i am part of the processing of light – light changes as it changes me. i respond to it and it responds to me.

these exchanges may be subtle, but as a human being, i have a brain as well as senses, a brain that generates a mind that categorises and stores information selectively according to nuances more subtle than i can bring to consciousness. it’s a mind that gives or finds in or for everything a meaning, and it responds to everything with feeling, understanding and imagination to categorise, judge, wish for, repel or condition the nwyfre in all sorts of ways. all the time i am feeding back my responses to the whole through the beings nearest me, and contributing to its evolution.

all of this is dynamic and effective and all of it is magical. the power that the mind exercises over matter, which medical scientists know can cause psychosomatic illness when random, repressed or abused, can also enhance life when used consciously and may be used creatively for all kinds of exciting and beneficial magical effects beyond healing. we have before us the task of learning how to use it.

the universe is logical; our physiology is logical and we think logically, but within the infinitely packed reality we inhabit, our ever-evolving minds are as yet not capable of comprehending more than a relatively small range of logical systems of limited extent, which we work very hard to extend, for example, through education and intelligently sought-out experience and the mass media developed for the purpose. the magic of mind over matter is also logical, and it is by understanding the default logic, which doesn’t foreground human needs over those of other beings, that we learn to advance beyond it and contribute to the evolution of the more human-friendly logicistics of the metaphysicist’s reality. nature doesn’t mind if our planet dies – we do, and we can save it by taking control of our proper share of the planetary magic.

logic maintains and manages the relationships between systems in the universe. some of the logic governing physics is so simple that its laws can be written as mathematical formulae. other logic, such as that of children’s play, is whimsical, witty and subtle, often submerged and not obvious, with so many variables that it takes child psychologists years of study to begin to discern it. our species is timidly and cautiously learning to reason logically, experimenting creatively with meaning, relationship and idea, observing the energetics and transformative power of ideas, observing the poetic force of thought, feeling and experience, beginning to understand how attitude can heal or harm us, learning the consequences of faulty, simplistic or misapplied logic along with those of sound reasoning. and in doing so we are learning to believe in the magic.

the more logically we reason, the more realistically we view the world and the more appropriately we interact with it. even people who seem to be illogical are simply following an inner logic of their own that does not necessarily mesh seamlessly with that of others, though at least equally sound. it may even be less flawed than the common logic, not more so. we should respect all paths even at that level, even if they clash with our own, perhaps even paths less respectful than our own.

all this is obvious when we consider the visible world, and equally true when we begin to search the edges of our consciousness for evidence of what exists beyond. so far i have considered only the material universe, without addressing the question of aether, the light body, the astral plane and so on. the reason for this is that we need to be sure of our material body’s clarity and to affirm what so many spiritual pathways still often deny – the validity of the here-and-now life of the biological body we live in and through.

the surface of any object infinitesimally small to infinitely vast, including humans, receives and responds to information about its environment. a mirror reflects reality. images are created in it by virtue of what happens when light strikes its surface. many birds and animals are imitative, and will, upon receiving impressions from other animals, mimic them, or mirror them. in the zodiac reflections of the great celestial patterns generated in the intricate spiral dance of galaxies and stars, and planets and their moons contribute to and reflect the myriad forces affecting the lives of small mammals on earth, including our human selves.

we’re used to seeing and responding to, mimicking and mirroring the actions of our fellow creatures, of birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, insects etc. we do it mindfully, and who’s to say trees don’t? being motile, our gestures are writ large, purpose-built for the sensoria we’ve evolved. we can see our fellow animals responding to hunger, love, fear, joy, anger, pain and the passions of oestrus, social competition and the hunt. it’s different when we come to appreciating the life experience of a plant.

the plant seems still, usually needing a breeze or other disturbance to move its leaves, the roots fixed firmly in the ground. we can’t see the writhing, twisting, bustling activity of its growth – time-lapse photography had to be invented to show us that, and even then, its dance has not necessarily evolved as a means of communication. it tells us about the growth habits of plants, but except in a very few anomalous species does not seem to demonstrate responsivity to fellow creatures, and tells us nothing about the inner experience of the plant.

microbiology does lift the veil a bit. it’s a precise science and is currently making amazing breakthroughs into the biochemical responsivity of plants. the gushes of pheromones and bating of vital processes, the alterations in tensions and force-fields within the tissues of plants in response to threats such as herbivores, bad weather or pathogens is comparable to that which we find in animals, where we take it for granted it is associated with feeling, with awareness, with intelligence. plants have a ‘fear’ response, although just as it is chemically different from our own, it is probably experientially different to the same degree and corresponding to the chemical difference. and plants have attitude: it’s basic to their spirituality and anyone can discern it. people often joke about the perkiness of petunias or the bombast of a much-frilled gladiolus, the feistiness of a young pine tree or the gaiety of a bed of annuals. take it seriously. it’s a major key to the fun and magic our favourite garden flowers have brewing for us.

plant chemistry centres around the flamboyant, light-hearted, extravagant, dancing, delightful magnesium, while that of animals centres around dull, plodding, solid, pattern-seeking, hard-working, reliable iron. therefore a sensitive study of magnesium and iron are useful to an ovate seeking to bridge the communication gap between them. basic chemistry can be a useful starting point. watching magnesium expend its capacity for inter-reaction with air in an extravagant flare with little energy input while iron absorbs and consumes more and more energy before glowing dully, and still more before passing through the red, orange and yellow part of the spectrum before flaring much more sedately, can help us to understand what sort of bridge across what kind of gradations in what spectra of nature we have to build. same sort of process, but at a different speed and with comparable but different results.

how do plants experience us? plants have no visible organ that corresponds to an eye or an ear. we can see only what our very different physiology allows us to see. certain fine highly active structures in the neurology of the brain are in form so similar to tree branches that they are termed ‘dendrites’ after a greek word for a tree. it’s not difficult to understand that though they serve different physiological forms, having similar shapes brings them into a special relationship through the natural geometry of forms. morphic resonance begins to be a feature. humanity needs to be doing much more research into these areas of plant study, both as scientific studies and as the magical explorations that are much more relevant here to ovates in particular.

now at about this point, we can turn our attention to the extended reality that becomes accessible to us as we open our psychic eyes. we have to acknowledge that there is another gap to be bridged: the gap between our scientific, objective understanding and our own personal subjective experience. we have in our support the testimony of generations of fey peoples and fey individuals, accounts of whose daily experience have contributed to the lively traditions in many cultures worldwide of ‘plant spirits’ in human or human-like form, traditions that persist in the mainstream imagination as myth even though seldom still believed in – and always have and no doubt always will.

people who practice organic gardening often become conscious of plant spirits. the findhorn foundation http://www.findhorn.org/ revived our current consciousness of them. rudolph steiner http://wn.rsarchive.org/lectures/19101208p01.html taught us more about them. cultures worldwide are currently contributing to our knowledge of them in australia and the world wide web is currently vibrant with the buzz of their magic.

anyone who takes the time to approach the idea of communicating with plants seriously can usually fairly readily obtain a glimpse, or other equally clear and unmistakable impression, of a dryad, provided they start with a domestic or traditionally befriendable tree. (apple tree dryads are willing, patient and druid-friendly teachers, having been family members for millennia and are now ogham trees as well, and apple wands are easy to enchant).

so the bridge we have to build between our experience and that of plants is apparently being built with equal willingness and enthusiasm from both sides. and the gap between science and subjective or ‘psychic’ experience is not so difficult to bridge.

immersion in nature or gardens and parks is necessary for successful communication with plant spirits. if you can’t get out and about, work through pictures in books or on line. i’ve seen plant spirits pop up out of seed-packet pictures. reading about nature as scientific, faeried, whatever, can deepen and widen the experience and be very inspiring. but one thing is certain: none of it works without an open mind.

this article first appeared in SerpentStar, the newsletter the order of bards ovates and druids in australia. here: http://serpentstar.wordpress.com/

 

what the koala told me about the birth of the planets

yeah, he been everywhere, man, and high up in a tree he’s close enough to the stars to clamber aboard and talk to zaphod beeblebrox, or jesus or dr who and the whole star wars crew and the seven sister star girls who wouldn’t marry anyone because they were having so much such super cosmic fun.

he got in my head when i was 8 through a souvenir koala i got for xmas. he’s been my spirit guide and helper for half a century. you wouldn’t believe half the things he tells me. here’s just a sample: gaga the planet

life and death of a druid:

deep magic drew me

from the all generating chaos into the forms and fantasies of the planetary drama to pit my greed and rage against cruel rocks of denial

i piled them rock upon rock i built a high tower i saw all the way to the rising sun and vistas away to the sea and the green forest closed round my tower and fed me with fruits and much venison

the stately sharing kindness of trees nurtured my happiness the brambles throve around my door the fruit trees followed me home herbs sprang up all a-buzz with bees and the honey ran down my walls

by a sparkling stream i cut a reed and piped for the birds and the fishes and flocks and i sheltered them among shady trees and i wove my garments of their fragrant locks

my hard iron ax cut deep i felled great trees great forest gods i slew i made fine halls strong furniture and ships carriages firewood and fence posts cleared the land.

and gathered into my barn the annual feast of fruit and grain and all the bounteous gifts of autumn in a land of sun and showers and pleasant breezes singing in the hay

and still i plundered nests among the stubble found late eggs to add to my winter store and plump nestlings rabbits hares and more

and acorns in the forest falling leaves revealed the clustering nuts in forest glades i cut my stalwart staff to knock them down i filled my sack with hazel chestnut walnuts bulging full

my cellar stocked i built my winter hearth which purred for me all winter while the land slept under snow stout barrels slowly emptying supplied me all i needed till the spring

i filled my hours with loving labour cobbled my boots smoothed to velvet softness skins of deer and sheep made saddles harnesses and parchment too

the cherishing richness and the generous habits of loving nurture into which i came questing as a soul deva dreaming established themselves in me even while i smiled and basked in the smiling of the sky

and when in my sleep i dropped like a ripe fruit from the tree of my life of my ancient lineage my godhead i saw the deep magic drawing from chaos into the drama of life the outrageous souls

into the circle of forest calm

and i cherish them all all deep in my all-knowing chaos i cherish them all

axis mundi – essential tool for effective world magic

axis mundi here it is as a pdf file. use it however you like, but please link to this site when you do.

The Axis Mundi. As a culture, we have come adrift of our souls and their truths and have often sacrificed our precious memories just to retrieve some semblance of contact with these truths through myths. In Druidry, the search for the Mabon is sometimes undertaken as a personal soul-retrieval quest. Magical, esoteric and mystery schools have many allegorical systems related to this notion. A good understanding of the Axis Mundi is very helpful in the quest. The Axis Mundi is a central feature of shamanic magic, and can be used as a basis for effective world magic and personal and community magic in the twenty first century. An integral part of the planet with corresponding energy structures in every human being, it regulates the multitudes of magically dynamic interfaces within our beings. When left to itself, unmanaged, it is like a garden of weeds – good in itself, a viable default, but not very purposeful. It can maintain a healthy ecosystem if all goes well. If anything goes wrong in or around it, everything is affected and may get unbalanced, sick and unsightly. Similarly, when the magic of one’s personal Axis Mundi is unmanaged it’s okay as long as no serious stress or other problems occur, but under stress may succumb to disorder which could result in disease or problems in relationships or other difficulties in life. While the church suppressed magic, the neglect of this vital axis has contributed to the sickness, fear, crime, corruption and disorder that are out of control in our world today. Conscious, mindful management of our magic then should surely be undertaken. The difference between trained magicians and ‘muggleses’ is not that one is more magical than the other, it is that we magicians undertake the conscious creative management of our magic, while the ‘muggleses’ let theirs run amok.

What is the Axis Mundi? ‘Axis’ is latin for ‘a straight line passing through the centre of a wheel or sphere’ and ‘mundi’  means ‘of the world.’ according to geographers the earth’s axis is the central column of the vortex of its spinning. It has a north and south pole corresponding to the poles of the associated electro-magnetic field. Esotericists extend this meaning to any conceivable straight path through the earth passing through its centre, but without the vortex created by the spin. Anything vertical is aligned to a section of the Axis Mundi. When the human animal first learned to stand erect, s/he became a tiny section of an Axis Mundi such, as previously only upright beings such as trees, owls and kangaroos had ever been before. Thus through myriad naturally occurring axes, Gaia nourishes, organises and manages the metaphysical environment in which she is forming her internal ‘organs’, ranging from the vast spheres of the material, etheric and other planes, to their ecosystems and the individual rocks, crystals, plants or animals within them. This she does naturally, through trees and mountains and structures we can’t perceive yet, and she works also through human beings specialised for the role, eg shamans, magicians, sorcerers, druids, witches, priests etc. These bring all kinds of essential magic into the social, ecological, political and spiritual environments of our world. The Axis Mundi is imagined or represented as providing resonance-transmitting connections between any given world axis and/or the individual’s own personal axis. Sometimes an intervening device such as a totem pole, world tree (the many-tiered Christmas tree, for example), house pole or other is used. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_mundi I’m planning a complete temple incorporating the bardic circle and the Axis Mundi. Via natural correspondences which I shall describe later, this combination can permit beautiful magic for the earth, helping to regulate vital functions as basic and necessary to planetary health as the circulation of the blood is to a mammal. I want to show that this theory is sustainable and that it provides us with a workable handle on reality through which we can perform good, healthy, much needed, druidic magic for our planet. It’s hard work and there are frustrations and even dangers. Our guides are many and though most are relatively enlightened, they are fraught people in a tense planet and some are, well, edgy at times. If your foot strays from the virtue path, you may be berated and even denied access until you get back on track – and you may have to win a few points sometimes. Independent magicians can prosper, but life is a lot easier if you are working through a well-regulated programme such as OBOD or similar, where the guardians of the grove are guaranteed to be helpful, good-humoured and savvy. As a druid, for example, if you remain true to the grail tradition of virtue without thought of personal reward, you become very useful to the planet, and the personal rewards go without saying. Gaia is a living creature. Most people are by now familiar with the idea that our planet is a living, vital, sentient, intelligent, multi-dimensional, many-gendered, many-dreaminged cosmic being, not just a dead rock with people on it. Perhaps she is a witch, a goddess, a magical intelligence of great power and beauty, a powerful celestial being. Or perhaps she’s just a dim glimmer, a tiny waif just coming into being among kindly or hostile others.

1st visualisation. A glance at these links will be good preparation: http://www.Gaiafoundation.org/content/Gaia-mythology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_of_the_Earth Imagine that you are a vast, celestial god, holding Gaia’s material body in the palm of your hand as if she were a fragile egg. The familiar hard, stony sphere is thinly surrounded by her many-layered atmosphere, which is tenuous at the outer extremes, so it as if you held a skinless soap bubble that floats upon your hand. Perhaps she resembles a transparent, softly layered fruit with a large, wet stone within. Imagine the consistency of that tenuous atmosphere surrounding the thin, rhythmically pulsating hydrosphere, which covers only two thirds of the lithosphere – the part we know best, living as we do on its surface, though we can’t penetrate its tough, rocky shell very deeply yet. We know very little beyond what it takes to recognise and use resources for our evolving civilisations. Zooming out once again, see our young planet as a multi-dimensional conscious being in her own right. This aliveness and responsivity must be kept in mind while imagining our Axis Mundi. Let’s now return her to her place in the sky, orbiting her smallish yellow sun. Before we leave her, there’s one more thing to consider: I don’t only focus on my innards, so it’s reasonable to imagine that Gaia doesn’t focus only on hers either, but participates in all kinds of energetic and magical exchanges with other celestial bodies and no doubt with entities beyond our ken. These exchanges resonate in the Axis Mundi, where the resonances are moderated and managed and some are mindfully conditioned for us by Gaia and mediated to us as we attune our personal axis to hers – just as we process our experiences in our brains. These processes happen naturally, even while we sleep, and they often permeate our dreams, fantasies and fictions, and inspire our science and philosophy, but Gaia needs her magicians and shamans to wake up and get to work consciously optimising them for the good of all beings. We’ll come back to this visualisation later.

That other ‘world wide web’. We know that the visible world hosts a vast and intricate network of biologically living beings, the biome, or web of life, consisting of a myriad of highly diverse species from tiny microbes to great whales each with its own vast array of specialisations. Crystals too are on a continuum with life-forms, so the mineral kingdom is also vibrant with purpose and functional too. Along with the spheres of atmosphere, oceans and earth, together they all, or rather we all, comprise the visible planet’s livingness, her vital, sentient, richness of conscious experience. Information of all kinds flows through all manner of channels and networks to co-ordinate all life systems harmoniously – via our senses, for example, through chemical exchanges – even within each other’s bodies, as it’s also the world-wide food-web. Each little being’s experience involves myriad, minute exchanges with a vast array of other beings in the web of life. This networking is managed by the forces that regulate global ecology so that it contributes harmoniously if possible to the whole experience of the material world – just as my conscious experience is constituted from the pooled experience of all my cells, organised and managed by my metabolism and interpreted selectively through my brain. We are Gaia’s cells. As ‘cells’ of Gaia, we are much more freely motile than most of the cells within our own bodies. Unlike many of her own biota Gaia as a celestial being is not freely motile, but in her fixed orbit within the solar system, which together with the amazing myriads of celestial bodies surrounding her, comprise the galaxy – in all its living, sentient, intelligent , passionate complexity. The more we appreciate this, the more encouragement we get from the guardians of the Axis Mundi, and the better our magic will be.

Gaia is multi-dimensional. Throughout history in all cultures, seers, shamans and highly trained adepts have glimpsed other dimensions of our planet – parallel universes and non-material extensions of this one, beyond most peoples’ sight, yet just as real and richly detailed, and sometimes deeply interpenetrating with ours – the faerie realms, spirit worlds, and all manner of mysterious ‘other-worlds’. Differing now from western scientific theory, Gaia appears to be a young planet, not yet fulfilled. Many moons have fallen and many have yet to fall. Humans have evolved between moon-falls, and our present moon will fall millions of years from now, and merge her evolution with earth’s. (This is a New-Age idea that was circulating during the 1970s and 80s, but I can’t now find a reference to it. – can anyone help?)

The holographic planet. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=59223213350926692 We’ve looked at Gaia’s many concentric spheres. According to esoteric belief, our planet manifests on seven levels of radiance, so each of these has richly detailed, vitally alive, astral and ethereal counterparts and more, which sometimes interpenetrate through nexuses what we can learn to control via the Axis Mundi. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_rays These interact something like the layers of different tissues in an evolving embryo or like the ‘shells’ of higher and higher energies surrounding an atom. The denser darker energies form the more concentrated spheres within while the lighter more expansive ones spread further outwards, forming the outer spheres. It’s a scientific fact that their perceived attributes are mentally constructed from data such as sensory stimuli interpreted within the brain. ‘Greenness’ for example, is not ‘real’, the radiances interpreted as green are. What this implies is that as a species we are tuned into our earthly reality as if to a one-channel virtual-reality holographic television broadcast. But evidence is mounting that Gaia is broadcasting on several wavelengths, and as we awaken more senses, we begin pick up traces of the broadcasts on some of the other channels – we access the parallel worlds. If so, as the poet says, we’re ‘looking through a glass onion’, with each layer of the onion a different world. For Gaia, these worlds function something like elaborate lenses – incorporating vast systems of highly specialised filters, selectors, censors and interpreters, busily engaged in organising, processing and distributing of all the myriad effects coming in and all those going out from the centre, in a continuous interchange – like billions of conversations all happening at once – a kind of Jacob’s ladder with the angels constantly ascending and descending. Concentricity,  diversity, reciprocity – Gaia radiant with life, drinking in and deeply appreciating the radiances of the sky…

The holographic human. In many esoteric systems we learn to feel out to the edges of our own personal bodily energy field, a spheroid envelope of subtle energy surrounding us, containing our material bodies, our light bodies and the many subtle bodies known to seers. Our material bodies are thus like the core of an apple embedded within an extra-dimensional, vital and dynamic apple matrix, or the embryo in an otherwise invisible egg. This egg-shaped body can be compared to the earth itself, in that it comprises several concentric layers, though not spheres, each containing its own bodily form, nested like Russian dolls. Most of us have heard of the astral body, or the etheric body, the light body, and so on, which might be described as perhaps virtually concentric with the material body.  In this correlation between Gaia’s body and the human body, we have the basis of one sort of sympathetic world axis magic, via a meditation which brings our personal axis into sympathetic accord with that of the earth itself in a conscious, purposeful way. The correspondences I find are my own work, although informed from many sources, and no one has to take them as text-book fact. The greatest value comes from mapping your own axis as you learn your way around it by using it yourself. A well-managed Axis Mundi can be like a probe, sensing these other wavelengths and beginning to explore them. So how do we go about imagining one?

The spectra. Many of the radiant energies of our planet are manifest as spectra. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_spectrum For example light manifests as the spectrum of colour. It appears as three effulgences with yellow as a central well-spring, which you might cautiously think of as ‘yang’, with red as a more introvert, and perhaps ‘yin’, intensity on one side, and blue, also ‘yin’ but different, as another on the other side. These overlap forming the neutral orange and green between them and purple at, enigmatically, the end of the visible spectrum, where there is no visible red to blend with – yet it is blended as if side by side, as a glance at an artist’s colour wheel will show. The six tertiary colours are thus a further rational division, though others are possible. Three primaries, three secondaries and six tertiaries – twelve altogether. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visible_spectrum This is paralleled in the sound spectrum, where red, yellow and blue correspond to the do, mi, and so of the tonic solfa scale. These three are perceived as dominant tones, with re, fa and la corresponding to the secondary colours, orange, green and violet, while the flats and sharps and, anomalously, ti correspond to the six tertiary colours. That also makes twelve. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_scale Some healers correlate the chakras with the colours and tones of these spectra. If the energy levels of the planetary spheres are also dominated by this pattern of manifestation, as some mystics think they are, theoretically, there should be twelve spheres ultimately, each with its own tone and vibrational range co-resonant with the wavelengths of the light and sound spectra. It’s difficult to prove this, so we’re working with a theory, based largely on psychic experience, some of it my own, not on proven fact. Nevertheless it enables us to build magical systems that work. Our planet is apparently young, and some of these spheres are not yet formed. Indications are that there may be seven of them now as, since newton described it, the western mind has for a long time had an otherwise irrational fixation on the seven-hued rainbow, although there is no scientific basis for that number, and also the same irrational fixation on the seven notes of the tonic scale. The note ti corresponds to the tertiary colour indigo, and both are tertiary divisions anomalously included with the primaries and secondaries. Both these fixations seem to be culture-specific, as indeed is the perception of dominant colours and tones at those precise wavelengths. Something in us wants newton’s ‘error’ preserved there. Myth and truth often don’t coincide and where they clash, there lies hidden magic. Errors of the intellect are often truths of the soul – that’s why we so often prefer them. Perhaps it’s in response to subconscious knowledge of a major happening at that wavelength, currently culminating in the much publicised ‘indigo’ generation. http://www.indigochild.com/  

2nd visualisation: the other worlds. For now, let’s go back to the visualisation in the second paragraph. Once again see Gaia as a living creature in the palm of your hand but this time imagine you see her with seven concentric spheres all surrounded with their atmospheres etc, each one a different reality invisible to each other but clearly visible to you. You will observed that the inner planets are saturated with the very fine substances of the outer ones while dense substances of the inner spheres do not extend to the outer ones. Now imagine peering into the transparent spheres and seeing other spheres beginning to form. There’s one within the first, just a tenuous mist perhaps, or just flashes of light or colour. It’s for you to imagine, and trust Gaia to perfect your vision. There’s another between the first and second, and between the second and third, and so on, like the flats and sharps in the musical scale or tertiary colours not yet clearly distinguishable in a rainbow. The inner spheres correspond to the redder, slower end of the light spectrum and to the lower notes of the musical scale. This is a starting point in imagining the Axis Mundi. So this is the theoretical model I work with – worlds within worlds. We don’t know much about the other-worlds directly, but through the literature of mythology, history, esoterica, legend, folk-lore, fantasy, religion and pop culture, we play with ideas freighted with their inspirations. Trusting these sources, and our emerging instinct and skill, ideally working with a bardic circle, via the Axis Mundi, we can negotiate useful, flexible, user-friendly interfaces with willing other-world beings. This in turn helps us to map the axis rationally and systematically for maximum effectiveness and safety, for world magic, community healing, personal empowerment and much more. My own rather eclectic selection of identifiers – and it’s a grab-bag of them I’m showing here – are drawn from reading, meditation and personal experience, is not necessarily going to resemble anyone else’s, and anyway is not static, being updated continually, but I’ll share it with you as an example of what one druid has done with it.

Twelve worlds. While I keep in mind that each sphere is as detailed and species rich as ours, I am focusing mostly on the tiny portion of the sphere’s total experience that is relevant to humanity. I’m sharing only some of my broad ideas, which may serve as starting points for others as long as they feel free to disagree as new evidence comes to them as they become adept. I certainly often find cherished notions of mine needing revision and it’s important to stay flexible enough to allow your guides to draw you in through your increasingly accurately informed sense of each sphere towards their reality – or not as the case may be. Human evolution is very various, but in many cases the further out they are, the more the humans of an outer sphere long for incarnation on the inner spheres, and vice versa. The evolution of souls generated on an outer sphere consists of achieving enough rapport with an inner sphere to incarnate there and to continue in this way until they have covered them all, and reached the centre and completed their earthly human body. Souls generated in the inner planets are immersed in all the radiances and need to incarnate successively further out until they form their celestial bodies as citizens of the galaxy. Then they have many options for further evolution as cosmic beings in their own right, true daughters and sons of our mother planet and father sky. My Axis Mundi is based on twelve energy levels and at each one I am cultivating pleasurable relationships with guides and guardians.

spectra

the spectrum of light correlates to the spectra of sound, the spectra of earth vibrations and of those of a human being.

Starting with the innermost:

Magenta Chaos, the fertile womb: watery, octopus dreaming. Here we have the generation of the forms, qualities and logistics of life, a consensus of all her beings, types, totems etc, a controlled effulgence. Under ‘cosmic law’: fertilising it, there’s a royal court there and a full complement of courtiers – the famed and feared rex mundi to administer this law. This deep deep awareness in our planet corresponds to the human ‘id’. The akashic records are kept here. It is attuned to the embryo and foetus and the age of invertebrates. It corresponds to the mammalian reproductive system.

Red In the Greek myths Tartarus is the deepest underworld. For me it is dark, rocky and cool, laced with cold streams, and has a stark and sparse fauna and flora including many large, slow amphibians and several human types, including titan-like people, cosmic elves, totemic beings and spirit people. They are gigantic. They appear as large as a full-screen close-up face image on a cinema screen, but are dark shadowy grey phantasmic images, not very frightening when you see them. Aboriginal dream-time spirits are accessed there via corroboree. Druids should note that the digeridoo is playd like a dord. It may be used to evoke resonances of this kind.

3. Scarlet Still in formation. Scarlet is associated in my mind with bardry, tarot, military tattoos, pageantry and spectacular display, equestrianism, haute couture, sexual display and courtship, sophisticated horticulture and some of the more elaborate forms of art, culture and civilisation. This sphere resonates strongly with the old ‘Conan the Barbarian’ comics. Gripping narrative is generated here, to harness the passions and power of the great arch-warriors and the fierce Gaian women and civilise them. It is attuned to the age of dinosaurs, and childhood.

Orange Hades, traditionally situated below earth, is a fairly civilised place where certain of the heroic dead of our world have honour and privilege after leaving this life. Ethics, wealth and politics are major foci. They have fertile lands with very large birds and mammals like bison, ravens and wolves and, and gigantic people. They are sometimes at war with us, so bring your best peace process and be prepared to be held off until they no longer fear you. It is attuned to the Paleolithic era of humanity, and puberty.

Buff  This is the underworld celtic fairies inhabit, along with many other undocumented races. Described in the folklore as relatively recent the Celtic component is only the tip of the ice-berg. The fay of England’s hollow hills, the brownies etc and people transferring through their deaths from many earthly nations and equal numbers from hades are building this world. They maintain mostly friendly and often very affectionate relations with their parent worlds through loved ones they knew there. They know us well, and they’re easy to reach with music and song, as they are well described in Celtic lore. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aos_S%C3%AD  It corresponds to the Neolithic era, adolescence, cottage industries, home comforts, crafts, trades and small farming. The people there are very proud of its scholars with their libraries of cherished ancient tomes, including traditions of magic. It is attuned to wild creatures. Exhilarating to work with, often hilarious with the joy of breakthrough, these are bursting with love for us!

Yellow Earth, this apparent world and all its associated fairy worlds (plant spirits, gnomes, pixies – earth kin’s as good a name as any) – of which we are of course, but one, and while yellow is at the centre of the spectrum we’re not necessarily more focal than the others, just closer to and dealing more immediately with a source. Pan prevails here. It is (for us) the here and now and attuned to domestic cattle and machinery, toys, cybernetics, cyber-beings and the flower of youth. Technology and scientific knowledge are major foci, with plenty of magic, fantasy and exuberance to bring it all to life.

Olive The blessed dead from ww1 are here. This is a new world coming into being, populated by men and woman who have crawled out of their battle field corpses and bombed cities and farms and built a life in the battle-scarred reflection of this world.  The astral sphere also, we know not with what convulsions of their equally populous world, supplied many souls to this world. Peaceful recruitment through afterlife is still happening worldwide. They are peace-makers, sworn never to forget the horror of war. They communicate easily through séance. This sphere is attuned to agricultural crops, and is forward looking.  They know and understand trauma. Attuning to them may be accompanied with waves of emotion, even tears. They love us. They know better than we do how necessary it is to care about the worlds either side of us as well as our own. We have to wake up and put an end to the planetary nightmare of war.

Green Esotericists call this the astral, where séances often speak from. Traditionally it’s one of the easiest other-worlds to communicate with, but be sure of your guides. They’re like us – some are sometimes not ethical. Calling them all ‘good neighbours’ offers the right sort of magic to the kindly ones among them, and does neither harm nor good to the nasties. But trusting too soon is counter-indicated. They maintain a fairly organic sort of pervasive civil service. Politics is their focus and they are constantly fighting crime and corruption. Green supplies its own remedies as priorities consistent with healthy living are established, and corruption is being built out there as it is here. It is attuned to herbs, the age of reason, and the near future as a goal.

Aqua Very new. Its formation is connected with the the Age of Aquarius and the birthing of plastics and synthetics into the world. Remember in the sixties the generation of people called the ‘plastic’ people? And then dolls like Barbie and her kin, and the Brats, by means of which Gaia enchants children into feeding their specific magic into this new Aquarian world. Altruism is a focus, along with identifying and solving problems, game-playing, fantasy and creative role-playing. Attuned to fungi, parenthood and creative play, and the future as a continuum. Their dance is very dynamic – lots of fun, but there’s also wisdom in it.

Blue This is the aerial sphere. Sylphs, flying fairies, aerial beings are at home here and they also host various fairies and extra-terrestrials. They send us poets (eg shelley) and singers and philosophers with their ideals of personal beauty and grace. They are time travellers, philosophers, and scientific – indeed, futuristic, having been there. It is attuned to tiny birds like swifts and swallows, critters like squirrels and other rapid, flighty things, responsible maturity, spirituality (think jazz and the blues) and peace.

Indigo This is the ethereal planet, the home of the beings of light, wizards, magicians, host to an array of extra-terrestrials. Our light bodies are often here, because Druidry and other formal magical systems have groves, temples and schools here. Working with mystery schools and esoteric systems etc they are actively seeking our sphere’s magicians to connect with them, and they frequently form marriages with willing earthly adepts. This is where the ‘indigo children’ currently incarnating on earth are from. http://www.crystalinks.com/ets.html Magic mirrors, crystal balls and pyramids attract them. They are disarming, charming, funny and friendly people, a little shorter than we are. There are time lords there, like those in Doctor Who, or Star Wars.  They inspire a lot of popular science fiction, such as Star Trek and the Harry Potter series.

Violet Celestial beings such as angels, certain saints, some gods (although there are gods on all levels), and many much venerated identities associated with the highest, saintliest wisdoms are found here. The sacred grove operates here, and so does the papacy, the churches and the high spirituality of other cultures. It is accessible through our highest religious feelings, and deals with the sacred, the highest ideals and the most refined aesthetic. They guide us with great love and kindness and high authority. They incarnate on earth sometimes to assist intra-planetary evolution as well as to enhance their own experience. All these spheres are constantly inter-acting, exchanging souls, wisdom, power and all sorts of qualities and changing each other in a constant lively radiant bustle of change and growth and renewal. The whole is a planet, our matrix, our mother. Worldwide, millions of pagans are proving that she can be invoked as a loving mother who will guide her druids on our quest for wisdom, love and power, because she does want powerful magicians to help her to bring all the spheres into conscious harmonious accord.  

Building the world tree. It helps the magic if I attune to the aerial plane through valid, magically activated symbols, such as runes and sigils, numbers, zodiac signs, the tarot etc. Although individuality is the key-note, some of the most potent activation is achieved by the collective consciousness, the result of the magical intentions of many serious minded magicians who more or less agree on the basic elements of the symbol’s meaning or the rune’s enchantment. It’s not essential but it’s helpful to use the basic magical lore that other magicians are developing as a resource for all. It works best if you stay conscious of why you use the focalisers you use and why you enchant or interpret them the way you do, and why you charm them the way you do. Be aware also that they are charming you! Exploring your own reasoning can make you much more aware of the validity of your own awakening magical mind. Crystals, pictures, the tarot, words, ideas, animal names or images, fur, hair or feathers, shells or whatever has meaning for you can also be used. These can be worn, placed on an altar, or glued to an Axis Mundi painted on a wall, or they can decorate a tree, a wand or pole. Here are some correspondences I’m working with, which might seem reasonable to you:  

Attuning. As a preliminary step to attuning, first cast a circle and do the light body exercise. Then remember the poet Amergin, who respectfully addressed the god of the land he was entering as a matter of courtesy. It is respectful to invoke Gaia formally and ask for her consent, and for her guidance and protection on the path. It makes sense to me also to invoke Rex Mundi, the ‘world king’ in some traditions – seen as a quintessential male human, while Gaia is a myriad-formed planet. Later you’ll meet your guides – the gwersi teach good ways of doing this, through guided visualisation for example.  This itself is good magic, so I do it often. Wearing formal regalia is helpful, as it has meaning for the guides you will attract to you and can incorporate psychic protection such as runes, wands, herbs or crystals. For example, the old ‘ban the bomb’ insignia on the sleeve of my sixties duffle coat draws to me my beatnik soul group, who have places I can reach in Hades where they are honoured for their work for human rights. Playing a Celtic harp brings the indigo wizards. Dancing or playing jigs brings in the underworld fairies.

Meditating.  I once came across a guided meditation, in a book about vision no longer in print, but typical of its kind – it involved inventing a tall building with seven floors each representing a colour of the rainbow. A shiny silver escalator carried the meditator in imagination from the lowest, i.e., red, floor, to the highest, i.e., violet, floor. There the meditator was asked to imagine items of the colour of each floor: a red table and chairs on the red, red walls, red door frames and doors, red curtains, red carpet on the floor etc. There was an orange piano and an orange book shelf full of orange books on the next floor, which had orange walls, carpets, curtains, an orange bowl of oranges etc., and so on up to violet.   This meditation innocently uses the Axis Mundi in a simple, powerful way. Expanding the spectrum to the twelve colours I work with, and thus inventing twelve floors for my house, I then, instead of inventing objects, invite nwyfre to flow from the floor I’m on into my stream of consciousness as a stream of intelligible data or text, where it inspires dreams, insights and purposes compatible with Gaia’s intentions for me. With patience and humility, it’s possible to learn to read more detail in this nwyfre, as its impressions flow from the world through this axis to our life field through our own personal axis. This requires the kind of psychic ability that can be developed by exercise, meditation and yoga – the light body exercise given in the gwersi is a basic essential for this development, with parallels in many similar disciplines of psychic awakening.   In my experience, the more I attempt this, the more conspicuous I am to the guardians and guides and the more I am assisted to quite sophisticated exchanges across these interfaces made in my imagination with reference to the Axis Mundi. Error-prone at first, practice makes perfect, and as years pass, I get reliable information, allowing me the be aware of short forays under safe conditions into the worlds below and the worlds above.

Blessings on your magic!

wyverne  

the enchantment of place

To see a universe in a grain of sand…

A single grain of sand is composed of vast numbers of atoms, each far older than the earth, each bearing the minute impressions of its aeons-long experience and emanating the result as its own special unique radiance. It is therefore unbelievably rich in meaningful detail, most of it far too subtle for our human senses to perceive, even when extended by technology. Landscapes are composed of uncountable billions of grains of sand, plus rocks, plants and animals great and small, and water in all its forms and chemical combinations, the great biochemical richness of the living soil, and the fragrances and sounds of the ever-changing atmosphere as well, their combined radiances and wavelengths all mingling in that grand symphony of subtle and unsubtle qualities of a place that constitute its ambience. Add to ambience a fascinating history, or interesting associations of any kind, or simply a tradition of usage or focus, and you begin to be aware of enchantment.

On a simple mundane level, most people are aware that when they decorate a room they are aiming to create a certain atmosphere, perhaps even a deceptive one, in order to produce a particular effect on people who will use the room. They might choose to paint a wall in colours that will make it look closer or further away. They might choose ‘warm’ colours or include ‘intimate’ nooks. They might deliberately try to create a feeling of space, or of excitement, or of peace. To do this they employ not just colour, but also shapes, sizes, textures and images, and choose specific combinations to create their effects. They might include little antiquated touches to add ‘character’, and choose ornaments that add ‘style’ or ‘elegance’. This is the deliberate casting of an enchantment, although not often seen as such.

All this seems so obvious that you might wonder why I’m bothering to state it, but that’s the very point I’m trying to make. There’s nothing difficult or mysterious about casting an enchantment, nothing eerie, other-worldly or supernatural necessarily, although those are among the kinds we’re most likely to respond to consciously. And that’s not to say there’s nothing elusive, subtle or intriguing about it. Everyone has a broad idea of what we mean by ‘style’, ‘taste’, ‘character’ and ‘elegance’, and what qualities make a place feel ‘peaceful’ ‘exciting’, ‘intimate’ or ‘austere’. But try to define these words, or be specific about why certain qualities create the atmospheres they do, and at once you are aware of how subtle, elusive and magical the simplest act of decoration is.

This is even more apparent when we think of the atmosphere of a holy or sacred place. Most people can feel the ‘holy’ atmosphere that sacred places have, churches for example, or the sacred sites of worshipful people. These numinous qualities go far beyond what can be attributed to architecture, or the wildness, remoteness, or incidental physical beauty of the place. Without even understanding or subscribing to this sacredness, many people instinctively feel it, respect it and wish to preserve and protect it. When sacred sites such as Tara in Ireland, Stone Henge in England and Uluru in Australia are threatened or harmed, the human response is passionate and powerful to protect and preserve them.

When a new temple or church is built and consecrated, or a sacred circle cast, there’s a consciousness of creating a holy atmosphere, and even if we’re not quite sure what it’s for, or why it has to be so, we know we are building an atmosphere quite deliberately.

A room decorated with care has a relatively intelligible enchantment. A tree or a wild place may actually cast a more powerful spell because plants are living, aware beings, and respond to the viewer in subtle and interesting ways. Perhaps we’re so accustomed to this that we aren’t even aware of it, like fish who can’t imagine what water is until they’ve been out of it for a while. We simply expect to feel different outside in a place of wild beauty and until we analyse it, we don’t recognise that many secret spells being cast by stones and earth, fungi, mosses and herbs, grasses and flowers, bark, wood and foliage, water and air, sunshine and rain, to build the healthful natural enchantments of wild places. Yet, instinctively we respond to this magic and use it in our lives. This is why people like to bring plants inside, to enhance the enchantment of their rooms.

Often it’s the little things that make the difference. A beautiful room designed by professional decorators may cast a less lovely spell than the same room decorated unprofessionally by the family who will live in it. There’s a definite feel about a designer room that for some people may not be as pleasing as the humbler one. There could be many reasons why, but let’s look at some of the more magical ones.

Psychometry is the ability to read the radiances of things, so as to access their store of memory, stored within the substance of which it is made. Substances vary in their ability to store and re-release the imprints of their experiences. Metals, rocks and crystals are usually easy for psychics to read psychometrically.  Now the ‘atmosphere’ of a place is replete, singing, zinging and sometimes howling with psychometrically readable impressions, and most of these are, probably fortunately in most cases, inaccessible to all but a few very gifted psychics.

Some places are so charged with impressions of events characterised by great energetic discharges that they scare even sceptical people, making hair stand on end, raising goose-flesh, and causing sensations of chilling and fear. Sometimes scenes of traumatic past events may flash into visibility and vanish again, even frightening animals and small children still too young to have been made superstitious by cultural influences.

If it is possible for frightening or highly emotionally charged events to create sinister atmospheres that then emanate from or haunt a place, it is equally possible to create pleasant atmospheres for a place via pleasant, yet highly emotionally charged events, and this can be done deliberately. Think of a house-warming, where fun, love, and happiness are deliberately generated specifically in order to bless and enchant a new home.

The old druids recognised that they had a responsibility to care for the land. Most cultures have some kind of awareness of the enchantments of their lands, and more or less institutionalised programmes of magical care. We’ve lost any certain knowledge of what our ancestors did, but people still put crosses at the site of bad road accidents, and leave flowers and prayers there for the benefit of the spirits. We remember and celebrate scenes of dreadful battles, people visit Auschwitz to put the energy of their mourning, grief and horror into those places, as healing for wounds in the enchantment of the land, whenever Hiroshima and Nagasaki are mentioned, our minds turn in pity and sorrow to grieve for the horrors of their devastation. We sacralise the birth-places of famous people, and the places where they lived and worked.

How can we 21st century druids craft and maintain healthy enchantments for our own ‘lands’. Each of us will come up with different ways – we’re very individualistic people. And we’re very keen to share our ideas and learn from others, and from other cultures. I’m sharing some of my thoughts here, and I believe it’s the proper work of druids to be meditating along these lines in order to become skilled, aware, purposeful manipulators of the enchantment of place for the good of all beings. After all, isn’t that what magic is all about?

birth journeys: an animistic approach to birth, neurosis and the enchantment of being human

birth journeys
an animistic approach to birth, neurosis and the enchantment of being human
by vyvyan ogma wyverne
‘we fear perdition at every death,
and death at every birth.’
…………….. máire, a spirit guide.
birth process

we're conditioned before our births

neurosis exists before birth.  that which incarnates through birth as a human being or animal is complex and extensive, and its consciousness of itself as an evolving being is more or less well articulated, but also more or less fragmented and confused.  entering its new body from the past, present or future, whether on earth as a material being or as one of the many kinds of non-material or extra-dimensional beings associated with earth; or else gathering and integrating fragments of the self from more than one prior incarnation, the incarnating self is conditioned by fear, despair and pain as much as by joy, knowledge and hope. added to this, most of us are usually incarnating in more than one body at any given time: for example, as plants, animals, or stones, or even landscapes [1] on the material, earthly plane, and/or on, or occasionally as, other planets or stars.

the material universe is infinite: indeed, it is made of atoms whose inner dimensions alone are infinite; and similarly our individual psyches [2] , of time as well as of space, of which the fabric of the psychical dimension of the non-material universe is woven, are infinite.  furthermore, each of us, though fragmented and perhaps fraught with conflict and trauma, is nevertheless whole and complete, and all of our pasts, all of our presents, and all of our futures are accessible to us, for good or ill, wherever we transcends time and space ‘ or would be if our neuroses permitted.  it is primarily for neurotic reasons that incarnation usually involves a loss of the transcendent position from which our infinitude of wisdom and power and love, that is, our divinity, or personal devas, are accessible.

a psyche leaving an incarnation through death has been conditioned by the pain and pleasure of the life it is relinquishing and most critically, by its death pangs.  it may connect with other of its incarnations before being drawn to its new body to be reborn on earth, and these too will have been conditioned by their experiences.  it may also seek access to another or others of its continuing incarnations, large or small, within the earth or beyond it; on the material plane or as an astral, aethereal or other extra-dimensional being or beings. this conditioning gives each psyche its unique character, which in turn determines where and when it will be born and to whom and in what circumstances, and how much choice it will have concerning its new birth situation.  it may be drawn simply to the egg whose genetic configuration matches its spiritual disposition, in much the same way as any particular web address (genetic configuration) will download the only one web page it can conjure of the millions that exist; or it may need help from other beings to modify itself in order to obtain a more favourable birth situation. in some cases, it may encounter unfavourable modifying conditions, which may predispose it to be born in unfavourable circumstances.

whatever our prior conditioning may be, when we reincarnate, our foetal experience and our birth are primal.  that relatively brief experience in the birth canal is a kind of journey, fraught with danger, normally painful and frightening for both mother and baby, and being archetypal, fundamental, and full of import, it patterns our personalities in many ways.  the event sequence of the birth itself is patterned according to the condition of the psyche prior to birth in negotiation with the baby’s genetics, and arrayed to negotiate in favour of the meeting of its own needs against the needs of the mother, and ultimately those of the community into which the child is being born.  the patterning is designed to keep the child attuned to its deva with its pre-birth conditioning, to obtain from his/her mother information about the circumstances under which it is entering the world, and to commit the incarnating psyche to the work the child, whose personality it is contributing to, must do while on earth [3] .

‘neuro-‘ means ‘pertaining to the nerves’, and ‘-osis’ refers to the sum of all activities and meanings associated with the stem it attaches to, in this case, ‘nerves’.  in short, it means ‘nerve-business’, but significantly, it is used in popular psychology to mean  ‘neurological disorder‘, often without any reference to real neurology at all. in fact, one result of being born in a human body is that our neurology decisively determines which of our genetic inheritance’s resources and qualities and which of our psyche’s can be mediated into your conscious earth-bound awareness as the qualities and attributes of our mundane selves. the main karmic workload of any human being is that which must be done to coax our neurology to grow to accommodate more and more of our psychical and genetically inherited resources, and whatever other resources become available to us as these qualities become harmonised and integrated into our earthly personalities.

our neurology at birth, which has developed in the body of the mother under her (usually ‘sub’conscious supervision), mediates our experience almost exclusively according to our genetics, including the unique, idiosyncratic way in which a newborn handshakes with the appropriate psyche, and this done, negotiations begin between the material body and the psyche for possession, control and use of the baby’s neurology, while at the same time, the newborn baby’s bond with the mother undergoes a radical change.  no longer part of her body, the baby must usually ‘meet’ with her and bond with her as a separate being, capable of downloading from its own psyche.

neurological dysfunction may reflect serious, crippling discordance’s between the body and its inheritance, if these have been recently thrown into conflict, or kept in unresolved conflict for a long time.  for example, where psychic awareness has been violently oppressed and punished over several generations, both overtly on the material plane as under the regime of the church, and covertly on the so-called subconscious levels (which may be quite conscious within their own contexts), there will exist neurological conflict, reflecting that which occurs in the whole body-personality, over whether or not to express the effects of the genes responsible for it, and this may result in a whole complex of physiological activities which may even attempt to effect a mutation, if the stress is severe. the neurology that develops in this conflict state may be more or less debilitatedly burdened and beset with strictures imposed by the culture and even shocked, wounded and cursed, although we may assume that its specific nature of the wounding would be as intelligently designed as the organism in which it occurs. [4]

the psyche too may be fragmented and fraught with conflicts, burdened with karma and/or even aflame with some missionary zeal, in a way that may bring it into conflict with the receiving body.  whether violent or peaceable, there is always a power struggle. sometimes the outcome is swift. a predatory psyche may subdue a weakened or defeated body and ride it through its lifetime like a horse, a slave at the mercy of its master.  a predatory body may capture a soul and carry it like a prisoner, extracting what it needs and repressing or even destroying the rest of its resources.  from this may emerge enabled, viable personalities, able to engage effectively in their negotiations with other people at least in the material world.  but often supremacy is maintained at huge energetic cost which places a great strain on the whole system, which may furthermore be forced to manifest the pain and despair of the defeated system in various ways, ranging from physiological sickness to depression, anger and the states of being associated with what most people mean by the term ‘neurosis’.  normally this power struggle persists, providing the agon for a constant war within, for a lifetime of inner turmoil, anxiety and emotional chaos.

a conflict-ridden psyche consciousness bonded to an equally fraught body consciousness, each with its own interests, some of them urgent, makes for an intense interface characterised by power struggles, agonistics and tensions which have their physiological counterparts in the biochemistry within every cell of the body, and patterned into the neurology as it forms. in the case of, say, a genetically coded shamanism inherited from a parent in a culture which has for generations tormented all shamanisms, there is likely to be anxiety in response to any biochemical events which might tend to express the forbidden traits even at the cellular level from the earliest embryonic stages, and dysfunctions may arise because of it. the same principle may operate as regards skin colour or other racial traits in people traumatised by racism.  most people these days inherit fragments of several shamanisms, as many despised or persecuted class or ethnic traits, and a few ‘criminal’ tendencies, which they themselves might despise, along with them.  the neurology formed to accommodate all this not only reflects these agonistics, but also strives to manage them.

a resourceful or healthy system may be able to do this effectively, or even use its dynamics to drive a productive, satisfying life. neurosis becomes unmanageable whenever effectiveness as a person within a culture is radically compromised.

now it becomes evident that it isn’t possible in this chaotic universe for anyone to incarnate in human form on this< travailing planet except through a neurology designed to encode their major psychological systems and hint at their minor ones, and bring them into confrontation with one another, and manage their conflicts; and hence neurosis is a condition of earthly existence, its salient features being established at birth, when the psyche first engages with the body without the intimate intervention of the mother.

at this point, to explore further the nature of neurosis in individuals, we must consider the nature of both the psyche and the body.  about the psyche we have some certain knowledge, a lot more uncertain belief, plenty of guesses, and a good admixture of fantasy, and we should undoubtedly explore them all in forming our vision of it for the purposes of healing.  out of the body experiences attest to its autonomy at least in the short term. near death experiences (nde) investigations point to its survival of death.  shamanisms of all cultures offer further vistas of the realms of the psyche, and a ‘real’ psychology would certainly be considering all models. western academic psychology is certainly the product of a valid academic shamanism, and should be honoured with the rest.  we see its flaws, and should be forearmed then in considering the psyche-science of other shamanisms, both within our culture, such as that of the spiritualists, as well as those of other cultures and of other times, against forsaking high standards of criticism in examining them.  on our planet, concepts of the psyche are vague.

people have always attributed beauty, love, spiritual wealth, wisdom and transcendence to the psyche, seeing the body as only a dumb, stupid beast-like creature of gross materiality that is animated and incidentally briefly elevated by the immortal psyche on its way to its glorious destiny.  yet the body is composed of atoms, each of which was forged in the most ancient times in the hearts of stars or sooner, before stars even existed.  each of these consists of subatomic particles, each one a tightly structured and immensely intricate universe in its own right.  each quark is saturated with impressions of everything it has ever encountered, and conditioned in myriad very specific ways by all the dramatic events it has ever been through.  we each inherit one cell from our fathers, a few billion billions or so of atoms, each with billions of years of its own unique history coiled within its atoms.  we get billions of times more from our mothers, and once born and weaned we grow by eating a wide variety of other beings, whose bodies have been built of atoms, each of which has reached our plate via a route as long and circuitous as those we’re made of ourselves.  within our cells, these are structured according to molecular patterns of galactic complexity, themselves ages old, which then further structure themselves with passion and awesome wit and imagination into bodies that walk and talk.

like dream-catchers these very large organic molecules and complexes of molecules represent the cosmos’s way of organising interfaces between the multifarious cosmic energies and ideas [5] that matter mediates.  they capture and manipulate ideas.  the more complex their organisation, the more complex the ideation. they are driven by the very lusts, passions and needs that in the higher animals are orchestrated by their collective will into the grand passions, driving lusts and ambitions, wild yearnings and ‘divine discontent’ that has driven human evolution from the big bang and all its undoubtedly myriad brother and sister cosmoses and before.  the material body is concept rich, and its brain is well able to make superb sense of its conceptual resources, to think profoundly, to reason beautifully, and to enjoy doing so with humour and grace.

our sensoria vastly enrich our ideativity. the ordering of all this experience into structures of negotiable logic is not normally beyond the body’s cranial capacity.  the body it is who weeps our hormones into the blood serum in an access of love, or in fear or in surrender, whether we are beetles or flowers or human beings, and sighs pheromones of joy and sorrow and shame and pride with exquisite sensitivity.  it is a vast organisation of living beings evolving dynamically, working hard at integrating the lot.  even without the psyche, we’re looking at a wise, passionate and moral being, a perfectly convincing god of the universe.

and it aspires to this union with the psyche.  we’ve always been willing to believe in the ‘higher’ wisdom of the psyche, but we should recognise the ‘dumb stupidity’ of it too.

the body is made of vast numbers of tight, persistent modules of structured energy, and so not less is the psyche.  indeed, the whole universe is. in the body as anywhere else in the universe they are ‘dream-catchers’ and so they are too in the psyche.  in both body and psyche we have myriad modules of structured energy (atoms) multifariously interrelated via interfaces more or less active, forming systems, called cells, also multifariously interrelated, which form themselves into organisms, including humans, according to any one or more of an infinite number of infinitesimally minute, infinitely elaborate, systems of logic, themselves interrelated via active interfaces. these systems structure energy to make bodies, whether material or psychic, which have souls because their atoms have memory, and which have spirituality because the minutest particles of their atoms have (consider the zestiness of sulphur, the stinging spite of sodium, the maudlin dote of magnesium in children’s medicine). their vectors are their wills; our wills are the resolution of the intricately interrelative myriad.

these systems of logic come into conflict at every interface. this is as true of the interfaces between atoms, as it observably is of those between people, cultures, species etc. no one system is right while others are wrong. it is a chaotic situation, and chaos theory applies. they negotiate at their interfaces and when negotiation breaks down we have disorder, conflict, and pain.

so to draw the focus back to the primal, imprinting, conditioned and conditioning birth journey, we can now recognise it as an interplay among several distinct, vital systems seeking to coalesce, supervised by the mother, herself presenting a number of interfaces to the baby, as well as being more or less manageably divided within herself. now we can map our journey through the birth canal into the world, being careful to denote the interface that exists between us now and the events of the birth as we observe it, in order to engage advantageously with one’s personal birth as if it were a kind of tjurunga [6] , mediating the primal agons, (i.e. alcheringa or dreaming), of one’s own divinity in a very specific way.  we have some idea of the physiology of ‘normal’ birth, its sequences of events, their timing, and tolerable variations, and these are representable as landscape features, as events in a journey, or as the elaborations of a sculpture, symphony, or system of mathematical formulae, each interpretative system offering its own therapeutic potential. you could viably represent the various critical features of birth as cards in a pack.  they can be used in this way to access the reality of one’s birth because they use structures of idea and energy (symbols) as dream-catchers whose salient features resonate sufficiently with the features of the birth to permit the passage of energy, both free and organised as information, emotion, and ideation, from the primal scene through its symbolism to one’s adult self, because they ‘catch’ the same ‘dreams’.

arthur janov’s primal therapy, developed in california in the 1960s and 70s, encountered erupting birth trauma and immersed the neurotic in them by annihilating intervening symbolism.  the result was powerful,  astoundingly effective, but too painful.  janov’s pioneers were susceptible to periods of near- or actual madness.  despite much better management now, it’s still a rugged journey.

[7] birth is a dreaming landscape and its djang is sometimes dangerous. that’s why we hedge it about with neurotic fortifications that ask to be approached through symbolism.

janov’s approach was that the birth needed to be found, it’s primal energy released through feeling and responding in the present, and the consequent access of insight would then end the pain of the repressed memory.  however, through symbolism we can dialogue with the features of our birth, its djang filtered through sensitively and intelligently selected symbols, and this has the advantage of recognising that the pain has meaning, that its generative elements can be discerned, questioned, and seen to be the processes of an intelligence.  instead of ‘laying the ghosts’ of past traumas, we should be respectful of their dynamic, eager for their meaning, and wary of ‘ideals’ of mental health formulated from profiles of norms, averages and types.

ends

bibiliography

  • elkin, a. p., 1977, aboriginal men of high degree: initiation and sorcery in the world’s oldest tradition. university of queensland press, australia.
  • gleick, james, 1988, chaos, heinemann,  london.
  • janov, arthur, 1991, the new primal scream, enterprise publishing, washington.
  • talbot, michael, 1991, the holographic universe, grafton books, london.

[1] australian aborigines dreaming places are examples of places whose devas are simultaneously incarnate as human beings, animals, stars in the milky way, and more.

[2] i’m using the word ‘psyche’ and not ‘soul’, because i’m not able to separate the body and soul in that way.  all material objects have souls, saturated with traces and impressions that comprise their memories.  that includes the very atoms they are made of.  when a person dies, what i’m proposing should be called the ‘psyche’ leaves the body, but the soul of the body is returned with the scattered atoms to the earth, each atom having absorbed the soul impressions of the person they were once part of.  furthermore, the ancient greek  ‘yuch’ (psyche) is nearer to my meaning.  our word ‘soul’ is cognate with the irish ‘saol’, pronounced ‘seal’, which means ‘life’.  my sense of the psyche is like the hindu idea of the ‘atman’.

[3] this work is called ‘karma’ in hinduism.  karma refers to work to be done. punishment and reward are only one aspect of karma.  perhaps more prominent among its many aspects is the work we share in harmonising the material, astral, and other planes with  the soul, mind, spirit and other dimensions of being.

[4] curses will be discussed in a later article.

[5] ideas will be discussed in a later article i use the word loosely here, to mean something like ‘modules of meaning’.

[6] a tjurunga is a natural object or crafted design which mediates significant features of the alcheringa (dreamtime) relevant to an individual, clan, spirituality, or whatever.  dot paintings are sometimes used.  they are sacred power objects.

[7] janov acknowledges on p.27 of ‘the new primal scream’ that as it threatens to emerge into consciousness, repressed pain can cause madness and/or provoke suicide.